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Be sure that you put on the whole armour of God; for if you do not withstand in the day of temptation, ye cannot stand; “ for ye fight not with flesh and blood," saith the apostle, but with a more crafty, powerful enemy: and therefore, if any place lie open, he will be sure to find it out. You know how it was with Ahab ; a man drew a bow, and shot an arrow at a venture, and wounded him between the joints of the harness. Now Satan knows where your naked, open place is, and therefore if you be not harnessed all over, with every duty, with every truth, and with every ordinance, you cannot withstand him : wherefore saith the apostle, “ Take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand ; stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace : Above all, take the shield of faith, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, and pray always with all manner of prayer, and supplication, and watch thereunto," &c. Eph. vi. 13-18.

The more delight and contentment that you find in the good ways of God, the more your hearts will be fixed, established, and staked down to them: comfort and establishment go together, 2 Thess. ii. 17. A man will never hold to that work long, which he finds no comfort and delight in : when the devil draws a man from duty, he doth not tell him at the first, that the duty is naught or evil; but he labours to clog the way of that duty with many difficulties; for saith he, if I can make this man draw heavily, and uncomfortably in his duty, he will soon cast it off. And indeed, what is the reason that men are so off and on, to and fro, in the good sensu vertit Chald. Paraph. Alii cor unum. Simplex vocari putant quasi dicat faciam ut me simplici ac sincero animo colant : alii unum id est amicum atque consentiens quod in christianis factum fuisse scribit, Lucas, Act 4. multitudinis autem credentiam erat cor unum et anima una. Septuag. videntur pro 778 legisse 778 alterum, verterunt enim kai owow autous rapdrav slegav et dabo illis cor alterum. Novum qui sensus magnopere mibi placet, id enim videtur dicere voluisse cum dixit unum et cum dixit spiritum novum, corfirmat hanc interpretationem, Ezek. xxxvi. 25., hanc eandem repetens sententiam non dixit dabo vobis cor unum, sed dabo vobis cor novum et spiritum novum quanquam Jer. xxxii. 39., cor unum et viam unam dixit quid autem vocet cor alterum et spiritum alterum declarat statim cum dicit auferam cor lapideum de carne eorum et dabo eis cor cirneum.-Maldunat. in Ezek. xi. 19.

ways of God, but because they do not find delight and contentment in them? Do you therefore desire to be fixed and established ? labour more and more then, to make your way to heaven easy and comfortable to you.

Now that the way to heaven may be made sweet and easy to you: be sure that

you do not separate between God's commandment and his promise: there is no one thing which God hath commanded us to do, but he hath promised strength, and grace to perform it with : if I look upon the command alone, then the work doth seem hard to me; but if I take in the promise, then it is most sweet and easy. Be sure that you apply yourself unto God's work, according unto God's method ; let that be first which he hath made first ; and that last, which he hath made last : a faggot, or billet is easily drawn from the stack, if you begin aloft; but if you will take out that first, which doth lie below, it will come hardly: so in regard of duties; there are some duties which do lie above, and some that lie beneath ; some are to be performed first, and some after: first you must believe, and then do good; “ Trust in the Lord," saith the Psalmist, “and do good :" but if you will do good before you believe, then it will come off with difficulty. God's own method observed, makes his way sweet and easy. Be sure that you improve, and make use of that variety which God hath given you: varietas resocillat, variety refresheth, and God's variety is most refreshing : but if I will hold myself only to one duty, when God hath given me many, and so neglect God's variety, no wonder that his work is made hard and tedious: are you therefore weary with praying? Apply yourself unto reading. Are you weary in reading? Away then to conference. Possibly your heart may be backward to prayer; but by that time you have been a while reading and meditating, you shall be fit for prayer; and having been a while at prayer, you shall be more fit for conference: but if you will keep yourself only to one duty, your way to heaven will be more difficult. Observe therefore God's variety, and neglect not the same. Be sure that you do not stint yourself unto any work, or duty, so as to say, Thus far will I go, and no further. If a man be in a journey, and hath fixed all his stages, he rides in continual pain and fear, lest he should not reach his appointed place, by his time appointed : but if he say, I will go as

far as the providence of God will carry me, then he rides more at ease in his mind all the day long.

So in our journey to heaven ; if you say, Thus far I will go this day, and no further; then you will go in continual pain, lest you should not reach your appointed stage : but if you say, I will pray morning, evening, and as much as I can, hear as much as I can, read, and meditate as much as I can ; I will go as far for heaven this day as I can, then the work of God will come off with more ease and sweetness, and with less difficulty: I speak not this against set times of prayer and duty: but against stinting and limiting God, and your own hearts. Oh, let us take heed of that. If you would so sweeten the ways of God, as that you may be more fixed and established therein, then labour more and more to naturalize them unto your own souls ; violent things never hold, natural things do : the sun is constant in rising every morning, for it is natural: the stone, if thrown up into the air, will descend constantly; for it is natural. So, if the work of God be natural to you, you will be constant in it; and though you be put by it, yet you will return again, and again. Labour therefore to naturalize the work of God to your own soul; so shall it be more and more sweet and easy; and you will be more fixed, settled, and established therein ; for it is delight that doth give fixation. If you

would be fixed and established in the good ways of God, then consider these ensuing motives: thereby you shall rid and free yourselves from temptations, which will otherwise press in and return upon you. The Jews saw that Pilate was wavering, and not fixed for Christ, so they came upon him with new volleys of temptations, and carried him at the last: but when the disciples saw that Paul's heart was fixed on his journey to Jerusalem, they gave over their siege, and left him to his own thoughts: and though Naomi did persuade Ruth to return unto her own country and kindred, yet at the last she left speaking to her, for saith the text, “She saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her,” Ruth i. 18. As an unsettled spirit doth lie open unto new temptations, and doth invite them; so a settled, fixed and established heart shall be freed from them.

This fixation of soul is a great honour upon your profession, and thereby ye shall walk worthy of the gospel, Phil. i.; he that is unsettled, unconstant and uneven in his course, doth bring no honour unto his profession, but lays stumblingblocks before the blind, and doth offend the world. Do you not see, say they, what a giddy and unsettled people some of these professors are ? But there or there is a man that doth walk closely with God; there is a christian indeed. He that keeps his constancy keeps his dignity.*

Thereby you shall rejoice the hearts of those that are set over you in the Lord, who do watch for your souls. If you stand fast, we live, say they, and your constancy is our rejoicing

You have been constant in seeking earthly things, which are in their own nature unconstant; and will

ye

be constant in seeking unconstant things, and not constant in seeking those things that are most constant, and durable riches.t

If you be not constant in good, you will be constant in what is evil; if not settled in the truth, you will be tenacious of error. Which is the greatest evil, tenacity in error or instability in truth? I say not; but seldom any are unstable in good but they are most tenacious in what is evil.

And the more unsettled you are, the more you make the way to heaven difficult and uneasy: you think and say, Oh, this work of God is exceeding hard, and very difficult, and therefore you leave it off; then you come to it again, and then you leave it off again ; but by your leaving it off you

do make it difficult. If a horse be ridden with an even hand, he will

go

well all the day; but if sometimes you ride him upon the spur, and then he stand awhile, and then ride him on the spur again, and then he stand and take cold again, he will sooner tire: and what is the reason that many men are so often jaded, tire, and give in, but because they do not keep an even pace in good? Now, therefore, as you do desire that the

way
to heaven

may

be more easy to you, that you may not be tenacious in what is evil, that you may not grieve the ministers of the gospel, instruments of your good and conversion, that you may not lie open unto sad and new temptations, and that you may not be a scandal to the good name of God; for what hurt hath the precious name of God done to you? labour to be more settled, fixed and established; which that you may be, think and think much on these motives.

* Qui servat constantiam, servat dignitatem.

+ Multos annos laborant homines et constantes sunt pro rebus mundi inconstantibus et fugitivis ; quia inconstantes sumus pro æterna et constanti gloria.

I Difficile putabis perseverare at difficilius est iterum incipere, multo molestius inceptare sepius, equi minorem vim faciunt cum continuant iter, trahentes cur. rum quam cum repetere volunt postquam steterunt: non fugiunt difficultatem qui cessant ab opere, nam perseverando facilius fiet, si potuisti incipere quod difficilius est poteris continuare facilius.-Euseb. Nierem. de Adorat. lib. iii. c. 7.

And, lastly, go to God by prayer for this fixation and establishment of soul, he is apt and ready to pardon your former unevenness and want of establishment. In Psalm lxxviii. 37, it is said of the Israelites, that “ they were not stedfast in the covenant; yet God, being merciful, forgave their iniquity,” verse 38. And he it is alone who hangeth weights on the wings of the wind; and therefore though your spirits have been as light as the wind itself, yet he will hang weights upon them; therefore go to him, for he is the God of all grace, who having called you to his eternal glory, after you

have suffered awhile, will restore, strengthen, stablish and settle you.

VOL. IV.

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